Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

All Souls' Day

(2 Nov)

The genealogies found in the Old and New Testaments are often the most "boring" parts for us. Not so for our ancestors. Our Litanies of Saints call to mind the saints we invoke, but also, we believe, make them more present in a real, and not just a subjective way. So it was with our ancestors. The litanies of their ancestors surrounded them with the "great cloud of witnesses" (Heb 12:1) that came before. By invoking, "Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Ammin'adab, and Ammin'adab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon..." the Jews were calling their ancestors to witness to their interaction with God.

We Christians call the saints to witness in like manner because of their heroic sanctity, we rely on their prayers and intercession and special favor with the Almighty. The Jews, in a sense, were at their best, even more humble, by calling all their ancestors to mind. Everyone descended of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was called upon for assistance in this way, the good, the bad, and the ugly. They were not called in light of their heroic sanctity, but in light of the promise made to their Fathers, to Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob, and their descendents forever. These fallen and fallible men were called upon in light of the simple fact of God's faithfulness to the promise, in light of the fact of His mercy.

Yesterday, we commemorated all the saints, who by grace have merited great favor with God, and whose aid will merit great grace for us. Today, let us not only pray for all the souls of those departed in Christ, but also call out to them for their prayers (CCC 958). They stand in purgatory, most of them, not as witness of God's justice, but undergoing His merciful cleansing, not because of their own merits, but because of His faithfulness to the promise.

Let's pray that we likewise be faithful to that same promise.

Holy Souls in Purgatory, pray for us who pray for you.

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